Why Attend Forum? Insights From a Credit Union CEO


Why go to Forum? For Sean Cahill, it's all about networking with other credit union professionals, exploring new ideas and attending intriguing sessions. The CEO of Southwest 66 Credit Union in Odessa, TX, says he was excited to register for Fiserv Forum 2016, set for September 12–15 in Phoenix.

Cahill knows his members expect financial services that fit seamlessly into their lives, and he looks to Forum to gain insights and get hands-on access to the latest innovations. In addition to almost 100 sessions focused on strategies and solutions, Forum features a Solutions Center offering one-stop access to leading-edge technology – a highlight of the conference, according to Cahill.

I look forward to the conference, knowing I’ll come back excited, engaged and passionate about creating that next technological change in our credit union.

And then there are the speakers. This year at Forum, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th U.S. Secretary of State, headlines Forum. Fiserv President and CEO Jeff Yabuki and Credit Union Solutions Vice Chairman Mark Sievewright join Dr. Rice as featured speakers.

The Point talked to Cahill to learn more about why Forum is important to him and his business.

What is valuable about Forum?

Cahill: Our industry is changing so much and evolving quickly. I love to see what the new technology is, what's going to keep us on the cutting edge and ahead of the competition – and what will differentiate us. Being able to connect with my peers, hear additional speakers, listen to the panel discussions and hear from other credit unions of similar size and direction is of tremendous value. We've been able to take actionable items away from Forum and put them into place at our credit union, which has benefited not only our organization, but also our members and our community.

How has your Forum attendance benefitted your credit union?

Cahill: I get excited going to Forum; it's kind of the Super Bowl of technology for us. I look forward to the conference, knowing I'll come back excited, engaged and passionate about creating that next technological change in our credit union.

As a result of new information gained at Forum, our credit union completely changed the landscape and the face of our branch network. We moved from a traditional lobby and teller line to a highly interactive, technology-driven retail space. We replaced teller line with teller pods, changed the way our loan officers and tellers interact, and created a universal member services officer position. We used some of the interfaces, data and analysis we received at Forum to apply for our Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) designation.

With our CDFI and our Low-Income Designation (LID), we were able to do more for the community based on some of the things that we learned at Forum and roll out new products and services. We've also learned about different reporting structures and projects from peers while we were at Forum.

We're equally excited to go to Forum this year and bring other actionable insights back to our credit union. I always approach Forum with a sense of wonderment and come home with a sense of energy.

What's your advice to credit union professionals who haven't yet attended Forum?

Cahill: Forum is a way to keep pace with information and innovation, and learn updates regarding the products and services we use. I would advise other credit unions to make Forum a priority. You will learn more about financial services technology and innovation than you will at any other conference you could possibly attend.

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